“It should just accept its weakness.”
The other day, the Senate resumed its hearing on the mysterious disappearances of almost three dozen cockfighting aficionados involved in online sabong, this time, dealing on how e-wallet service providers like Paymaya and GCash are possibly being exploited in the online gambling scheme by money launderers and even minor bettors.
Paymaya, represented by its legal counsel Eloisa Sy, expectedly refuted such allegations saying they employ their own KYC or Know Your Client procedure, requiring subscribers to submit documents when they register online.
Globe Telecom, on the other hand, through its senior legal counsel Gilbert Escoto insisted that it is impossible for minors to access GCash’s e-sabong platform, citing the embedded security features placed in their mobile application that supposedly prevents those below 18-years old from playing or just accessing it.
First, let’s dig into Paymaya’s KYC procedure. With such a simple requirement of requiring subscribers to submit documents online, and without any mechanism to verify their authenticity, there is no way Paymaya can determine whether their e-wallet services are being used by minors to access the online sabong and place their bets.
Even Sy acknowledged that during the hearing, prompting Senator Francis Tolentino to retort, “So kung pwedeng malusutan ng minor, pwede ring malusutan ng mga money launderers saka terrorism financial activities.”
Escoto’s defense is worse. Like Sy, he should have just admitted there is no way they can determine the authenticity of the documents being submitted by their subscriber. How would he react if Tolentino, just as he promised, would bring in the next hearings some cockfighting aficionados who are below legal age who were able to place bets in e-sabong using the GCash platform?
And GCash is not only being used by minors in placing bets for online gambling platforms or even possibly by money launderers or even terrorists, but even by online scammers. I should know because I fell victim once and Globe has no protection or safety net in place for subscribers like me.
A few months back, the mother of a childhood friend who is now based in the US, messaged me through a social media messaging app. I was not aware that her account was hacked as the impostor was aware I was in constant communication with my childhood friend.
Anyway, the hacker then asked me if I could lend her a favor, to send some amount of money to her friend in Taguig as banks were already closed in the US at that time (It was about 3 am in Las Vegas when we were chatting).
I readily obliged since I have known their family for ages. But when the impostor asked me to send another amount of money to another individual also based here, it was then I started entertaining doubts on the identity of the person I was talking to. So, I initiated a voice call which the person on the other end rejected saying his or her signal was weak. It was then I messaged my friend, who then informed her mother about what transpired and it was then we realized her account was hacked and I was scammed.
I immediately called Globe Hotline and asked that the payment to the number I sent money be blocked but they won’t entertain my request. I have been a Globe subscriber for more than ten years. They could just have looked into my account to determine if I am a fraud.
That’s how scammers can easily exploit this e-wallet platform. And how much more with the money launderers and terrorists who can employ sophisticated apps and equipment if they want to utilize the said scheme for their agenda?
So, instead of trying to deny their systems are prone to exploitation, Globe should just admit its weaknesses and cooperate with these legislators in the ongoing hearing and help them in crafting a law to strengthen their programs for their own protection and for their clients. Globe’s Escoto’s defense just won’t fly.